Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pour your heart out: When you work from home...

Now that the kids are both in school full-time and I've really gotten into the swing of being home alone all day; I love working for myself from home.

Late last year, I didn't hide the fact that the transition from full-time stay-at-home mom to full-time self-employed writer was a difficult one. It was hard to go from all day kids to no day kids. At first, I remember thinking how the heck am I going to fill six hours every day. Now my thinking is along the lines of" 'holy crap, where the hell did my six hours go today!'. After the initial crash in September, I (right now) have enough work to keep me busy on a steady basis. (I mean, seriously, have you noticed how little I write on this blog these days?)

Working for myself from the comfort of my home has some major advantages. For starters, I get to set my own hours. In my case, it means I start work at 9 a.m., after I drop the kids off at school, and I end at 3 p.m. when it's time to pick them up. Of course, setting your own hours does also mean that you're sometimes working at 11 p.m. after everyone else has gone to bed.

But the same advantage of being self-employed at home is also a disadvantage -- it means I'm at home. And this has nothing to do with me -- I'm very disciplined at home. When I need to work, I work -- I'm not doing laundry or cleaning up bedrooms instead. I'm working. It's just flexible enough that if I want to cook a slow cooker dinner for that night, I can spend half an hour getting it ready while still 'at work.' 

No, the trouble with the work-from-home scenario is everyone else. Now I don't mean everyone. Some people 'get it' all the time and some people 'get' it' some of the time. But then there's the some people who don't 'get it' at all. What I mean is they assume that because I'm at home when they're at work, I must not be working -- or at least not that much.

These are the people who assume they can call in the middle of the day just to chat, drop by when they're in town on a random Tuesday, ask me to go shopping (or to the movies or to the art gallery or whatever) with them because they're off work for the day (and yes, I've been asked to go all those places with various people since September). After all, the kids are in school, so I have nothing else to do, right?

To all you people, I want to say this: 'I have a real job. I make a respectable amount of money. I work hard to make that respectable amount of money. I am my own boss and I make my own hours. Some days, I have more time on my hands than other days -- that's the nature of contract work. But more often than not, I spend my entire day working until it's time to pick up my kids from school.'

But to all you same people, what I can do is quick chats on the phone, a text conversation and lunch. In other words, if you would do all those things during your regular work day at your office, than I too do all those things during my regular work day at my office.


Kelly Guenther said...

I worked from home for about 4 years with 2 then 3 little boys. Being a stay at home mom and a working mom from home was the hardest job I ever did. I have worked full time out of the home, worked part time, stayed home full time, and worked full time from the home and working from home w/my kiddos underfeet was difficult. You have to be great at wearing many hats all at the same time and you have to be disciplined in setting deadlines for yourself and work hours for yourself. Loved reading this post.

NJ @ A Cookie Before Dinner said...

Working from home is such a toughie! I feel like there are never enough hours to get anything done. And people who work outside the home don't always seem to "get it" that just cause I'm home doesn't mean that I'm not busy!

Shell said...


I threatened to get office space to convince certain family members this was a real job. I just happen to be able to do it from home. But I really do have lots of work to do and no, I can't stop in the middle of it all to do everything around the house. There's flexibility, sure- throw in a load of laundry or do something quick and here and there- but most of the day is just plain work.

Larks said...

I so hear you on this. It's the same thing for me. (I WAH part time.) No, I can't pick up your package. No, I can't Skype you through your hair crisis. No, I can't fill in for every school volunteer shift. If you wouldn't ask it of your friend who's an accountant or a nurse, don't ask it of me.

Alison said...

I'm sorry I've called during the day! It's easy to forget your work at home job isn't the same as mine anymore. You're doing great, and good post!